Light, crispy, tasty and fragrant, ‘chiacchiere’ are the most typical dessert to be made and enjoyed at Carnival time.
The origins of the chiacchiere seem to date back to ancient Rome, where the Saturnali were celebrated (a festival very similar to today's Carnival) during which "frictilia" (sweets fried in pork fat) were made. Those are probably the ancestors of today's chiacchere.
In Italy, this carnival dessert is found practically everywhere, but depending on the area or region, it is called in various ways: cenci, frappe, sfrappole, crostoli, etc. It is always a very thin and crumbly sheet of fried dough flavored with citrus peel and dusted with vanilla icing sugar.
Like all recipes with a long tradition, there are many variations. Some prefer lemon peel while others prefer orange peel, some like to add a drop of grappa to the dough instead of Liquore Strega’ or ‘Grand Marnier, some want them sweeter and some less. One thing is certain, the pastry must be thin and the cooking must be quick and light.
Follow our recipe step by step and you will obtain a real crunchy and crumbly delight that cannot miss from the table from Thursday to Mardi Gras!
The type of wine that goes best with these tasty treats is a bubbly. With its delicate acidity and aromatic freshness it leaves the mouth clean and ready for another sweet bite.
You can choose a red, rosé or white bubble, such as a Brachetto d'Aqui or a Moscato. Its cheerful fruit will perfectly complement the vanilla notes of the chiacchiere.
for 4 servings
Take a bowl and put in the flour, the sugar, the finely grated lemon rind and a pinch of salt. Mix the ingredients and form a small hole in the centre. Now you can add the eggs, milk, melted butter and liqueur to the centre.
Mix with a fork, starting from the centre of the dough, first mixing the liquid parts and then gradually adding all the flour. Finish working the dough on a pastry board for a couple of minutes until it becomes smooth and uniform. Form a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and leave it to rest for half an hour at room temperature.
It is essential that the dough is rolled out very thin, a veil. You can proceed in two ways: a pastry board and rolling pin (traditional method) for the more experienced, or with the pasta machine for those who want a safe and fast result.
Divide the dough into 3 parts, then one at a time flatten them with your fingers or with a rolling pin until you have a disk 6-7 mm (¼") thick, then lightly flour and insert it into the slot of the pasta machine, pass it slowly turning the crank (in this way you will avoid that the sheet breaks) repeat the operation always flouring and decreasing from time to time the thickness until you get a sheet of 0.7-0.8 mm (1/32").
Handle the dough carefully by placing it on a pastry board. Use a sharp knife or pastry cutter to form rectangles (5x10 cm) or diamond shapes of similar size.
Your chiacchiere are ready to be cooked.
Pour the frying oil into a high-sided frying pan and put it on the heat until the temperature reaches 175°C.
Chiacchere is very quick to fry so don't cook more than 2-3 pieces at a time or you risk burning them. Immerse the chiacchere in the boiling oil, on the surface in contact with the oil bubbles will immediately form and within a few seconds the chiacchere will tend to crumple.
After 4-5 seconds, turn the chiacchiera with tongs and cook the other side for the same time or a little less, remove it from the oil and place it on absorbent paper. Keeping the oil at the right temperature is important for good frying!
Finally, once you have cooked all the pieces of pastry and left them to cool, about 20 minutes, you can dust them with icing sugar on both sides. Now arrange the chiacchiere on a tray in several layers and serve.